Kayaker, skier expected to duel at annual Summit-to-Shore Race
What’s more important in a multi-event mountain pentathlon – skiing ability or kayaking skill?
That question will probably be answered Sunday at the 4th annual Summit-to-Shore race, as University of Nevada, Reno, Nordic skier Tav Streit and nationally-ranked kayaker Nelson Oldham are expected to battle for the individual title in the event which includes downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, cycling, running and kayaking.
In their only head-to-head competition in the Summit-to-Shore in 1995, Streit took a three-minute leg into the kayaking portion of the race but was caught by Oldham before the finish. Oldham didn’t race last year as Streit won easily, but Oldham is returning this year to battle Streit once again.
“Nelson will definitely be a threat to catch me in the kayaking leg,” Streit said. “My strategy will be to go hard from the start and not look back.”
Streit said he believes he’s improved in kayaking since being caught from behind by Oldham in 1995.
“I’ve been putting the effort in practicing my paddling and other events,” Streit said.
If either Streit or Oldham falter, 1996 second-place finisher Mike White, 21, could emerge as the race’s champion.
“I should be faster than I was last year, just because last year was my first Summit-to-Shore and I have more experience now,” said White, who is Streit’s teammate on the UNR Nordic squad. “Even if it’s windy again, I should be fine because my kayak is very stable.”
White mentioned his kayak’s stability because last year’s race was drastically affected by gusting winds which buffeted the kayakers and even capsized some participants. Race organizer Jeff Schloss is hoping for better conditions this year.
“It’s always hard to say how the weather will be on the day of the race, but it looks like we will be getting better weather starting tomorrow,” Schloss said. “As for the snow conditions, it’s melting rapidly on the summit, but there is more than enough for the race. In fact, the skiing legs of the race will be even better this year because Donner Ski Ranch will be closed and the racers won’t have to dodge other skiers on the slopes.”
In the women’s race, UNR student Anna Sterner is looking to improve on her second place finish from 1996.
“I’ve made improvements in my equipment and training,” Sterner said. “I’ve done more cycling and running this spring and I’ve learned not to use Nordic skis on the downhill portion of the race.”
Participants in this year’s Summit-to-Shore Race will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Donner Ski Ranch with the downhill skiing leg. Competitors will then cross-country ski for seven kilometers before cycling down to West End Beach for a seven-kilometer running leg and 2.5-kilometer paddling leg.
“The race has exactly the same events as the Pole, Peddle, Paddle Race which has more than 2,000 entrants each year in Bend, Oregon,” Schloss said. “We’re estimating we’ll have about 250 participants this year.”
Schloss said individuals, pairs and relay teams are welcome to compete in this race and that it is not too late to sign up for the race.
Individual entries cost $27, pairs are $22 per person and teams are $17 per person.
All money goes to nonprofit organizations, including the Far West Junior Nordic team and the University of Nevada, Reno, Nordic ski team.
Awards will be given in pair categories (men’s, women’s and coed), teams (junior, men’s, women’s, coed and master) and Ironperson divisions (male, female, master male, master female).
Race sponsors include Gu, Patagonia, Lucky, Quest, Sierra Designs, Lowe Alpine, Fleet Feet, Sierra Mountaineer and Fischer Skis.
For information, call 581-6494.
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